WHS Intern Spotlight - Caitlyn Neufeldt
By: The Pottawatomie Economic Development Corporation (PCEDC) | 04.26.21
A goal of the Wamego High School (WHS) Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program is to help students get a head start on exploring career paths. WHS Junior Caitlyn Neufeldt has fully engaged with this aspect of the program, diving into projects related to her planned career field in genetic counseling, despite COVID-related changes to the availability of internships in this field.
Caitlyn got an early start on creating a long-term career goal by researching career paths, particularly those suited to her academic and personal interests. Caitlyn initially was interested in careers related to medical fields, as she enjoys math and sciences courses, but is also highly interested in human service-oriented jobs. After getting connected with a professional in the medical field through the recommendation of one of the CTE program leaders, she learned that genetic counseling careers could fit with her interests. After exploring this career option, Caitlyn was convinced that genetic counseling would be the perfect fit for her interests and didn't hesitate to dive into the career opportunities available through WHS.
Caitlyn initially hoped to participate in the WHS internship program by interning or visiting a hospital, particularly one with a program related to genetics. However, COVID restrictions prevented her from interning on-site as planned. Despite this obstacle, Caitlyn was still able to gain relevant experiences and continue developing her career interests. With the help of CTE Coordinator Tammy Biswell, Caitlyn was able to work on genetics case studies published by Children's Mercy Hospital, submitting her answers to both the school for class credit and Children's Mercy. To continue exploring the field, she was also able to develop another class project around genomic research and how it could benefit the local community.
With this head-start on her career in genetics counseling, Caitlyn is confident that college admissions offices will view her applications for related study programs favorably. To achieve her goal of becoming a genetic counselor, Caitlyn will ultimately need to complete a master's degree and gain related professional work experience. Although she will still have many years of education left, She is already planning her next step by enrolling in college classes during her senior year of high school. If COVID restrictions ease, she also hopes to gain experience touring and interning with Children's Mercy, or another facility that conducts genetics research. After graduating, she is planning to attend Kansas University for bachelor's studies in genetics. Afterward, she plans to pursue a master's degree. She is particularly interested in related graduate programs offered at Indiana State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.